Alan’s Fourteen Valuable Points to Obtain a Foothold in the Entertainment Industry

Alan (photo from Sharrie Mccain)

Introduction

I want to provide some value to my readers, so I want to pass along some bullet points for those who, such as myself, want to obtain a foothold in the entertainment industry. Actually, I have come quite far since 2009. I am still a small fry, but I have come this far, and I will not stop now.

My blog is the only project I can call my own. That will change someday, but for now, I strive to be a part of other peoples’ projects. Therefore, my tips lean in that direction.

My Points

  • My first point is actually an attribution – Many of these tips are based on my own experience, but I recommend connecting with people familiar with how to make the most of, and effectively use, branding, content creation, social media, etc. – in my case I appreciate Tawanna B. Smith, Akia Garnett, and M. Shannon Hernandez.
  • Join social media, but be selective in the platforms. This is because you have to build relationships and followings on every social platform you choose, as well as rigorously posting. I post on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. In addition, I use Periscope for relationship building only, since I am not a fan of doing videos. Of course, if you love video (live or otherwise), there is YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Periscope. The number of followers you have may not be as important as impressions (someone viewing your content) or engagement (someone interacting with your content – e.g., comments, shares, likes, clicks).
  • If you make “first contact” via social media, continue building the relationship off social media. Even better if you can arrange to meet in person (not always feasible in this age of worldwide communication). Skype or phone is next best thing.
  • Build relationships the old-fashioned way – via an initial in-person encounter. Casual conversation at a show, party, restaurant, or hotel lobby may lead to a valuable connection. A few months ago, I was at a concert and I connected with the promoter. Once meeting someone in person, go back and connect through their social media.
  • Always carry business cards. If you do not have a formal business (e.g., ME), you should still have a card; the card should contain your primary social media links, blog/website link, IMDb link, phone number, and e-mail address – now that I have a blog I realized the importance of having such a card.
  • Attend networking events in person. (I have to do more of this – I will have to step out of my comfort zone.)
  • Support Our #creatives. Hmmm, that sounds familiar. Be a funder. Attend events such as screenings. Tune in to people’s online programs such as podcasts or webseries. Watch TV shows or movies they appear in. Connect via social media with hosts and guests that are in your area of interest. Engage with bloggers.
  • Become a brand ambassador. A brand ambassador represents a brand in a positive light and by doing so helps to increase brand awareness.  Share a website link, blog post, podcast, or webseries episode. Akia Garnett has recruited me as a brand ambassador for her and her series “ThinkBIG”.
  • Establish and maintain an IMDb page for yourself. If you are credited on a project page, a personal page will be automatically created (that is how I accidentally discovered I had an IMDb page!). Ensure you have a photo and biography at a minimum.
  • Take the initiative to be more than just a funder of a project you like. Provide your thoughts and suggestions to the project lead. Volunteer to maintain their IMDb page. Offer to be in charge of posting to the project’s social media page. Ask to review the script. And by the way, you may connect with a project lead for the first time via a formal crowdfunding, but for their next project, they may reach out to you directly.
  • If someone reaches out to you directly to be a part of their project (i.e., outside of a formal crowdfunding), follow up and determine if it is of interest to you. This is an opportunity to develop a long-term relationship with a filmmaker or producer, where you may end up being a part of this project and their subsequent projects. I have developed several long-term relationships, including but not limited to, Move the World Productions, The Reel Network, and PL Entertainment.
  • Read, Read, Read. It is important to read books in your area of interest, and books about how to become successful in your dream.
  • Create content to promote yourself – website, blog, live or recorded video or audio. For my blog, my main sight is on WordPress. I also post the same content on Bloglovin’, Triberr, and Medium, to gain greater exposure. Those are websites consisting of collections of posts from multiple authors. You can find like-minded bloggers. You can share others’ posts and they may very well reciprocate and share yours.
  • Connect with a filmmaker or producer whose project is being produced near where you live. This will make it more likely to have a deeper involvement in the project, and you may get to be on-set! I have been working on set of Sharrie Mccain’s “Traveling Vagabond” and “Collision Envisage”; and Jolie East-Miji’s “B-City”.

Conclusion

I felt it was time to provide some pointers.  This is not the final word. I will continue to provide knowledge transfer as I grow in the industry. And you do not have to go through this by yourself.  Ask questions as necessary.


Do you have any additional points that would be useful?  Please provide your thoughts and questions in the comments. I would really enjoy hearing from you. If you have a topic in mind you would like me to cover, please let me know.


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